Ex-Citadel Hedge Fund Manager Launches $200 Million Fund

 

 

By Stephen Gandel        Citadel, the $26 billion Chicago hedge fund run by Ken Griffin, has a new offspring.

 

Joseph Rotter, a former top Citadel executive, has launched a fund at Neuberger Berman. It is the latest effort by the money management firm, which used to be owned by Lehman Brothers, to expand into alternative investment funds.

Rotter’s Principal Strategies Group began trading in late October, and now manages $209 million, according to a letter that Rotter sent to clients on Friday that has been seen by Fortune. It wasn’t clear if all that money was in one hedge fund, or in a number of accounts. In the letter, Rotter says the group’s performance has been positive since it launched, but didn’t quantify how much. The S&P 500 is up 5.5% since Rotter’s group started trading.

According to Rotter’s LinkedIn profile, he joined Neuberger in February, and works out of the Chicago office of the New York City-based firm. Rotter did two stints at Citadel, most recently as the firm’s global head of event-driven strategies. Rotter left Citadel in late 2008 after a massive 55% loss at one of the firm’s main hedge funds, as well as fewer deals led to layoffs in its event driven investment team.

In 2009, Rotter launched a fund firm RoundKeep Capital Advisors with with three other Citadel veterans. The fund got attention because it was one of the few run by Citadel alumni. By mid-2011, RoundKeep was managing more than $1 billion, but the performance of the firm’s main fund was mixed. RoundKeep shut down in 2012.

Rotter return to Citadel in 2013, but left again in 2015, after the firm’s billionaire founder Ken Griffin decided to shut down the division that Rotter was running.

Neuberger, which was bought out of Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy by the firm’s executives, already manages a number of hedge funds, including a debt hedge fund and funds that invest in other hedge funds, as well as mutual funds and individual client accounts. Rotter could not be reached for comment. Neuberger did not return an email requesting comment.

In the letter to clients Rotter predicted that President-elect Donald Trump will be good for hedge funds like his that bet on corporate deals, among other things.

“The potential for significant regulatory and tax reform may spur a new cycle of deals,” Rotter. “We are excited about our opportunity.”

Corrected: An earlier version of this story stated that Rotter’s fund was Neuberger’s first equity hedge fund. In fact, Neuberger has a number of other stock-focused hedge funds. An earlier version of this story also said that Citadel’s event-driven hedge fund was down 55% in 2008, prior to Rotter’s exit from the firm that year. In fact, it was the loss of 55% of the firm’s flagship multi-strategy fund Wellington that led to layoffs.